The Turkish Riviera is known as the Turquoise Coast and for good reason, the waters are a turquoise blue, and it’s dotted with beautiful, sandy beaches, adorable seaside towns, and so much to do. When you think of a “beach” vacation, you don’t often think of Turkey, instead, you may head to neighboring, Greece or even Spain or Italy. I’m here to tell you that you’ve been seriously missing out.
On my trip to Turkey last spring, I had the chance to spend some time on the Turkish coastline, visiting towns like Kas, Kekova, and Antalya. However, I only scratched the surface. There are so many cute towns and things to do outside of just these three stops. Since I can’t speak to all of them, this guide is only going to narrow in on these three which would be a great addition to your Turkey itinerary.
Kas is a picturesque town with cobbled streets, adorable houses filled with flowers and greenery, great food, and sandy beaches. Because of this, I, of course, would recommend Kas as a great stop on your itinerary. I seriously could’ve spent days here just wandering the streets because everywhere I looked there was something else so beautiful that I noticed. It’s a great, small vacation town and an awesome place to centre yourself for a relaxing vacay, or a cute stop along a more busy itinerary (like mine).
How to get there:
You can get to Kas by bus from Antalya (3 hours) or Fethiye (4 hours). You can also take a bus from Istanbul, however, that’s not necessarily recommended as the journey will take you about 15 hours. Your better option from Istanbul is a regional flight to the Dalaman Airport which is the closest to Kas.
What to do:
Adventure Sports: Kas is home to a lot of adventure sports. You can try canyoning, paragliding, and the town is known for its diving. Get PADI certified here, or if you already are, explore the many dive sites around town including ship and plane wrecks.
Eat: Turkey has no shortage of fantastic food and there are so many fantastic restaurants. Here is a great guide from Jet Set Together to check out for recommendations.
Day Trip: You can day trip to Greece from Kas, several tour operators offer a boat ride to the island of Meis in Greece. You can also venture to the ancient ruins of Xanthos.
Ancient Amphitheater: Located within walking distance from the town centre, the Ancient Amphitheater in Kas is a great visit. It is well-preserved and has fantastic views of the sea from the top. You can even check for local events and concerts happening in it during the high season.
Shop: There are so many cute, local shops in Kas that you can shop for hours. If you are there on a Friday you can check their local market.
Kekova: Kekova is located just off the short of Kas and is an island famous for the Sunken City. Once upon a time, it was an important port but sunk in the 2nd century AD. Although this isn’t really a town you can visit like Kas, it’s possible to see ruins from a boat, diving, walking, or swimming around the site. The turquoise, clear water makes it visible even from above. Hire a boat to take a day trip, or I highly recommend taking a multi-day boat trip to the area like this one. It can be expensive if you’re not part of a group, but even just a day trip is worth it if you have the time.
Antalya is a Turkish resort city and is the gateway to Turkey’s Mediterranean region. The Old Town, known as Kaleici, is the hot spot for tourists, with a history that dates back to 200 BC. You’ll want to base yourself in (or close to) Old Town, as you’ll spend hours wandering the magical streets.
How to Get There:
Antalya is easily accessible thanks to the Antalya Airport. This is the best, and quickest option since driving from Istanbul can take about 8.5 hours, and a bus can take 13 hours.
What to Do:
See the Sites: You’ll want to explore some of the historical sites of the city such as Hadrian’s Gate, the main gate of Old Town. Other historical sites worth noting are Aspendos, a Greco-Roman city built in AD 155, and Republic Square, the heart of the city.
Old Town: The Old Town is the jewel of Antalya and you’ll probably spend the majority of your time in it. It has enchanting streets lined with overflowing flowers, adorable architecture, and cute shops and restaurants.
Hike the Lycian Way: Running from Antalya to Ölü Deniz near Fethiye, the Lycian Way is famous to hikers who travel from all over the world to hike this trail. The trail is 540km in total, but there are several different sections of the trail you can do if you only have a day or a few hours.
Antalya Bazaar: Every Saturday starting at 9 am, you can shop until you drop at the Antalya Bazaar where you can get a taste of Turkish culture and shop like a local.
Düden Waterfalls: Located just outside the city of Antalya, the Düden Waterfalls are stunning and worth a visit. There are two parts to the falls, the Upper and Lower falls. Several companies offer day tours, but the falls are only 30 minutes out of town if you want to make your way there yourself.
Lounge on the Beach: Antalya is located on the beautiful Turquoise Coast, so going to the beach is a no-brainer. Here is a great list of some of the best beaches to choose from.
When is the best time to visit the Turkish Riviera? The best time to visit the Mediterranean Coast is in the spring (April to mid-May) and the fall (mid-September to the end of October). The summer can be unbearably hot and busy.
What is the currency in Turkey? The currency used in Turkey is the Lira. However, almost everywhere takes credit cards.
Is Turkey safe for solo travelers? Absolutely. Like anywhere, use your common sense and stick to the tourist path if you are traveling alone.